In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'. Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectations about the final product won't be severe enough to...
Oh, oh, I almost got this! One last jump, and ffffuuuuuuuuuuu....
Fenix Rage is all about death. Not in a cruel and bitter way like Dark Souls, but in an infuriating and harefooted way that will remind you of uncompromising old-school platformers. It will make you gnash your teeth, scream into nearby pillows, and do irreversible damage to your controllers. The three indie developers of Green Lava Studios in Costa Rica may have just wanted to create a challenging platformer with a cool character who collects cookies, but they have absolutely no idea what they've done.
Not unlike Super Meat Boy and N++, Fenix Rage exemplifies the frantic trial-and-error gameplay of speedruns. As a mighty, bite-sized powerhouse, Fenix can jump multiple times in the air and dash as many times as he wants through breakable walls. But a single point of contact with a green glob will end his run, forcing a quick respawn at the beginning of the stage. One mistake and it's all over for this rocky ball of fury.
The main goal in Fenix Rage is to get through a level by reaching the blue portal at the end, with the main side objective being to collect the cookie before doing so. Levels, suspended in air and adorned by the vibrant sunset in the background, tend to be deviously designed with bouncing green globs all over the place, hopping and bopping back and forth in noticeable patterns. Sometimes Fenix will need to ride on an igneous wall to become a fiery ball of energy required to break through ice blocks. Eventually, the only way to get past them is to absorb the patterns into your mind and become one with the matrix.
Several floating birds will help guide you through what the programmers believe is the best path, but you never know if a player might find an alternate but likely riskier line. The pursuit for the quickest time on each stage will be pinned on leaderboards, and there will even be secret end portals that can be found but only if they're reached within an extremely short amount of time. I'm sure YouTube will become a platform for the competition for the shortest, most amazing runs through each of the game's levels, and there will be plenty of videos too due to the sheer number of levels.
Each of the four worlds are comprised of twenty or so stages, at the end of which is a boss level that's sometimes simpler than the tricky levels before it. Once they're completed, they can be flipped over on the menu screen to reveal dark-world variants that have even more damning challenges and ghosts in the shape of a crocodile's head who will hunt Fenix down like a homing missile. Manage to conquer even those, and you'll reach Sanctuary with the toughest set of stages this side of "Special World" from Super Mario World. (Probably even tougher.)
But along the way, don't forget about those cookies. One of the developer's family members is a baker and collecting the cookies in each stage will unlock her secret recipes. And the publisher, Reverb Communications, swears that they've tried the "Legendary Cookie" recipe and the cookies are nigh-transcendent.
Fenix Rage plans to release on September 24 for Steam and Xbox One and in Early 2015 for PlayStation 4.